top of page

Design Professionals: Here's what to know about the 2021 Code Updates

The intervening code cycle changes for the 2019 CBC took affect on July 1, 2021. All projects submitted for plan check on or after July 1, 2021 must comply with these updates. Starting this week, we will be publishing an article each week featuring one of the code change topics. This week we'll give you an overview of code sections that have changes which may affect projects currently on the drawings board, as well as a review of the definitions in Chapter 2 that have changes. We hope these short snippets will be easy to digest and help you better incorporate accessibility into your design and construction. If you have questions about the new code updates, please feel free to reach out to our team at LRS...Architecture. We will be happy to answer questions or point you in the direction of the information you need. If you are interested in our consulting services to help with the accessibility components of any of your projects, we would be happy to share with you how we can simplify your work load and ease your burden as a designer. Just email us at or give us a call at 916-995-4795. The following elements have code changes that we will discuss in the coming weeks:

  • Blended Transitions

  • Parallel Curb Ramps

  • Detectable Warning

  • Circulation Paths

  • Bottle Filling Stations

  • Baby Diaper Changing Stations

  • Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

  • Public Housing

Let's dive into the definitions that have changes in the intervening code cycle.

  1. BLENDED TRANSITION. [DSA-AC] A raised pedestrian crossing, depressed corner or similar connection that has a grade of 5 percent or less between a circulation path at the level of the sidewalk or walk and the level of a vehicular way.

  2. BOTTLE FILLING STATION. A fixture that is designed and intended for filling personal use drinking water bottles or containers. Such fixtures can be separate from or integral to a drinking fountain.

  3. CIRCULATION PATH. [DSA-AC] An exterior or interior way of passage provided for pedestrian travel, including but not limited to, walks, sidewalks, hallways, courtyards, elevators, platform lifts, ramps, stairways and landings.

  4. CURB RAMP. [DSA-AC] A sloping prepared surface, intended for pedestrian traffic, which provides access between a walk or sidewalk and a surface located above or below an adjacent curb face.

  5. DETECTABLE WARNING. A standardized surface feature built in or applied to walking surfaces or other elements to warn persons with visual impairments of hazards on a circulation path.

  6. DRIVE AISLE. A vehicular way provided within a parking facility that connects vehicular entrances, parking stalls, electric vehicle charging stations, passenger loading

  7. DRIVEWAY. A vehicular way providing access between a public way and a building, parking facility, or other off-street area. A driveway may provide access to drive aisles in a parking facility.

  8. Pedestrian Way. {Definition Removed}

  9. PUBLIC HOUSING. Housing facilities constructed or altered by, for, or on behalf of a public entity, or constructed or altered as part of a public entity’s program to provide housing pursuant to United States Code of Federal Regulations, 28 CFR Part 35, 102(a), including but not limited to the following:

  • 1. One-or two-family dwelling units, or congregate residences;

  • 2. Buildings or complexes with three or more residential dwellings units;

  • 3. Homeless shelters, group homes, halfway houses and similar social service establishments;

  • 4. Transient lodging, such as hotels, motels, hostels and other facilities providing accommodations of a short term nature of not more than 30 days duration;

  • 5. Housing at a place of education, such as housing on or serving a public school, public college or public university.

Note: A public entity’s program to provide housing may include but is not limited to: the allocation of local, state, or federal financial assistance, Community Development Block Grants, Low Income Housing Tax Credits, the California Multifamily Housing Program, loan agreements and housing bonds. Examples that are not considered a public entity’s program to provide housing may include but are not limited to: density bonuses, the receipt of public funds for the installation of energy efficiency features, seismic strengthening, water conservation and fire safety features. For additional information see “Guide to Public Housing Regulated in Chapter 11B of the California Building Code” and the “California Access Compliance Advisory Reference Manual” available on the Division of the State Architect’s website.

10. PUBLIC USE. [DSA-AC] Interior or exterior rooms, spaces or elements that are made available to the public. Public use may be provided at a building or facility that is privately or publicly owned. Private interior or exterior rooms, spaces or elements associated with a residential dwelling unit provided by a public housing program or in a public housing facility are not public use areas and shall not be required to be made available to the public. LRS...Architecture 2021 Contact: Erika McCaffrey 916-995-4798

260 views0 comments


bottom of page